Wasting police time is a criminal offence as outlined under section 5(2) of the Criminal Law Act 1967. Knowingly making false reports to the police is an offence, including verbal or written statements that:
- Someone has committed an offence
- That people or property are at real risk
- That the reporter has information that is relevant to a police enquiry.
For proceedings to be brought for an offence of wasting police time, the Director of Public Prosecutions must initiate proceedings or give consent for initiation. This type of offence is a summary only, and this means that proceedings must begin within the summary time limit of six months.
The time limit for prosecution begins from the date that the complaint was made, rather than the date that falseness of the statement was suspected or determined.